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Re: Using CVS as an enterprise backup facility

From: Todd Denniston
Subject: Re: Using CVS as an enterprise backup facility
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 09:22:05 -0500

Merlin Beedell wrote:
> CVS sounds like a possible solution to the following scenario:
> We are currently looking at backing up our main [file] servers to a remote 
> site's hard disk.  The requirements are:
>  All files to be copied to the remote site just once (i.e. so that 200Gb does 
> not get transferred every night/week or month over broadband connection).
>  From then on we only need to back up new or changed files.
>  For Changed files, we need to keep up to 3 (or a configurable number of) 
> prior versions
>  We need to see a simple report showing backup completion and any issues on 
> the way
>  To restore, we need to be able to easily select a file from a directory 
> structure on the backup machine, and choose the most recent or one of the 
> previous versions.
> I don't know of any backup software that runs quite like this (does anyone?). 
>  Clearly CVS would just be a component of such a system - yet it seems so 
> possible that it really aught to be attempted.  The key part is in a simple 
> interfaces for
>   - selecting servers and directories that should be backed up
>   - a scheduler
>   - a reporter
>   - a restore interface.
> Am I being mad, or are there loads of existing products that do this, or does 
> this sound like a great idea?

Sounds like you really want to keep your backups in a VMS filesystem[1],
which some might claim indicate you to be heading for madness. I thought
there was a project to provide a VMS filesystem for linux, but I can't find
it quickly. Curiosity question, how many VMS folks you got there?

If ALL of your files are _ASCII text_ then you might be able to implement
what you want with CVS, but otherwise I highly suggest abandoning that idea.

There are several open source backup solutions available[2], AMANDA[3]
backing up to a disk, with some extra tools[4], seems the most likely to me
to come close to what you want. 

In February someone discussed doing what you are suggesting with (or on)

If you could live with one backup, but have that backup in live hot real
time, you might want to look at DRBD[6].

Todd Denniston
Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC Crane) 
Harnessing the Power of Technology for the Warfighter

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